In the midst of a three-game winning streaks, the San Antonio Spurs host the ailing Los Angeles Clippers without Lou Williams.
The San Antonio Spurs started off the year hot and quickly fizzled out, middling around the .500 mark for the 11th seed in the heated Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Clippers have been one of the league’s more intriguing surprises. With a balanced roster full of capable contributors, Los Angeles stands at 17-10 for the fourth seed after finishing 10th last year.
In the first meeting between these two ball clubs, head coach Doc Rivers gave perennial Sixth Man of the Year contender Lou Williams the green light to take over in the fourth quarter. He did just that and closed the Spurs out 116-111 at the Staples Center.
This time, Doc won’t have Lou Will to rely on. The 32-year-old suffered a hamstring injury against Phoenix on Monday that is expected to have him sidelined through the next week. For San Antonio, three-point extraordinaire Davis Bertans is expected to return after the birth of his first child sidelined him for the previous two games.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 13, 2018
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Something about playing against Los Angeles-based teams elevates Compton-native DeMar DeRozan to another level of play. He dominated the 3-1 season series victory over the Lakers and scored 34 points on 14-of-30 shooting in his first game against the Clippers. DeRozan was quiet against Phoenix but will be called upon more heavily against one of the conference’s most competitive units.
The first meeting overlapped with a horrid dry-spell for LaMarcus Aldridge, who made only 3-of-15 buckets for 10 points in 38 minutes last time these teams met. He seems to have broken out of his funk in recent weeks and could be in for a revenge game at home.
Aldridge is averaging 3.4 more points at home than he in on the road this season and is shooting 57 percent in the month of December.
Coming off of a big night against Phoenix, guard Bryn Forbes will try to double down and build a hot-streak but it won’t be easy. With Williams sidelined, the guard trio of Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley and rookie phenom Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will work to shut down the perimeter against San Antonio’s back court.
With a win, the Spurs can match their longest winning streak of the season for their fourth consecutive victory. Building this momentum while there’s still plenty of time left in the season can do wonders for a team fighting to earn back their playoff spot.